When it comes to old makeup, we often find ourselves wondering what to do with it. Many of us have a collection of forgotten and expired beauty products tucked away in our drawers. But did you know that improperly disposing of makeup can have a negative impact on the environment? That’s right, the chemicals and toxins in makeup can pollute the soil and water if not disposed of correctly. So, what should you do with your old makeup? Let’s explore some options.

Over the years, the cosmetic industry has seen a rise in sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives. Recognizing the need for responsible disposal, many brands now offer recycling programs specifically for old makeup products. In fact, a staggering 877 million units of packaging were recycled by beauty brands in 2020 alone. This means that instead of tossing your expired mascara or foundation in the trash, you can now recycle it through these programs. By participating in these initiatives, you not only contribute to reducing waste but also support the continued effort towards a more sustainable beauty industry.

what to do with old makeup

What to Do with Old Makeup?

In the world of beauty and cosmetics, many of us tend to accumulate a collection of makeup products over time. But what happens when those products start to expire or we simply don’t use them anymore? Instead of letting them gather dust in your vanity, it’s important to know what to do with old makeup. In this article, we’ll explore various options for handling your expired makeup responsibly, whether it’s finding ways to reuse it, donating it to others in need, or even recycling the packaging. Let’s dive in and discover how to make the most of your old makeup!

1. Can Expired Makeup Be Reused?

When you find yourself with expired makeup, your first thought might be to simply throw it away. However, certain products can still be put to good use, even after their expiration dates. Here are a few ways you can repurpose your old makeup:

  • Use expired mascara wands as eyebrow brushes for a more natural-looking finish.
  • Turn old lipsticks into cream blushes by melting them down and mixing them with moisturizer.
  • Use expired eyeshadows as nail polish by mixing them with a clear top coat.
  • Consider using expired powder products, like bronzers or blushes, as body shimmer or highlights.

By giving new life to your old makeup, you not only reduce waste but also get creative with your beauty routine.

2. How to Safely Dispose of Expired Makeup

While reusing expired makeup can be a great option, there are certain products that should never be used beyond their expiration dates. Mascara, liquid eyeliner, and anything that comes into direct contact with your eyes are some of the items that should be discarded once they expire to avoid potential infections or irritations.

To safely dispose of expired makeup, follow these guidelines:

  • If the product is in good condition and within its expiration date, consider donating it to local shelters or organizations that accept gently used cosmetics.
  • For products that cannot be donated, check with your local recycling center to see if they accept makeup packaging. Some plastic and paper packaging can be recycled.
  • For items that cannot be donated or recycled, make sure to throw them away in sealed plastic bags to prevent leakage or contamination.

By properly disposing of your expired makeup, you help minimize environmental impact and ensure the safety of yourself and others.

3. The Benefits of Recycling Makeup Packaging

When it comes to makeup, it’s not just the product itself that can be recycled. The packaging also plays a significant role in reducing waste and ensuring sustainable practices. Here are some benefits of recycling makeup packaging:

  • Reduces the demand for new materials, conserving natural resources like oil, minerals, and water.
  • Reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of new packaging.
  • Prevents packaging waste from ending up in landfills or oceans, where it can harm wildlife and contribute to pollution.
  • Closes the loop in the product lifecycle, creating a circular economy where materials are reused or repurposed instead of being discarded.

Many cosmetic brands now offer recycling programs or partner with organizations that facilitate the recycling of their packaging. Look for information on their websites or reach out to their customer service to learn more about recycling options.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How Often Should I Check if my Makeup Has Expired?

A: It’s important to regularly check your makeup products for expiration dates. As a general rule, mascara and liquid eyeliners should be replaced every three to six months, while foundations, powders, and lipsticks typically last up to a year. However, product lifespans can vary, so always check the packaging or the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Q: Can I Donate Opened Makeup?

A: While it’s ideal to donate unused and unopened makeup, some organizations do accept gently used makeup, especially if it’s been sanitized and is still within its expiration date. Check with local shelters, beauty banks, or organizations that support individuals in need.

Q: Can I Recycle Empty Makeup Containers?

A: Yes, empty makeup containers can often be recycled. Clean them out thoroughly and check the recycling codes on the packaging. Most plastic containers with numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 can be recycled, but it’s always a good idea to check with your local recycling center for specific guidelines.

Key Takeaways: What to Do with Old Makeup

  • Check the expiration date on your makeup products before using them.
  • If your makeup is expired, throw it away to avoid any potential skin irritations or infections.
  • Consider donating gently used makeup products to local charities or women’s shelters.
  • Repurpose old eyeshadows or blushes by using them as nail polish or body shimmer.
  • Recycle empty makeup containers or find brands that offer recycling programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to old makeup, many people are unsure of what to do with it. Whether the makeup has expired or is simply no longer needed, it’s important to handle it properly. In this article, we’ll answer some common questions about what to do with old makeup.

1. How do I know if my makeup has expired?

One way to determine if your makeup has expired is to check the product’s packaging or label. Many makeup items have a small symbol that looks like an open jar with a number on it. This number indicates the number of months the product is safe to use after opening. If the product is past this timeframe or if it has a strange odor or texture, it’s best to dispose of it.

Additionally, liquid or cream-based products, such as foundations or mascaras, should be replaced every six to twelve months to prevent the growth of bacteria, while powder-based products, like eyeshadows or blushes, can last up to two years. Remember, using expired makeup can lead to skin irritation or infection, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Can I donate my old makeup to someone in need?

While it may be tempting to donate your unused or lightly used makeup to someone in need, it’s generally not recommended. Makeup is a personal item that comes into contact with the skin, and sharing it can spread bacteria and infections. Additionally, donated makeup is often not accepted by organizations due to hygiene concerns.

If you have unopened, unused makeup that is still within its expiration date, you may be able to donate it to a local women’s shelter or organization that accepts makeup donations. However, it’s always best to contact the organization beforehand to ensure they accept cosmetic donations and to inquire about any specific requirements they may have.

3. How should I dispose of my old makeup?

When it comes to disposing of old makeup, it’s important to do so safely and responsibly. One option is to check if your local waste management facility accepts makeup for disposal. They may have specific guidelines on how to package and dispose of cosmetic products.

If your local waste management facility does not accept makeup, you can try removing any remaining product from the packaging and placing it in a sealed plastic bag before throwing it in the regular trash. This helps prevent any potential contamination or leakage.

4. Can I repurpose old makeup containers?

Yes, you can repurpose old makeup containers. Before repurposing, make sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize the containers to remove any leftover product. Once cleaned, you can use them to store small items like bobby pins, earrings, or even travel-sized toiletries. Getting creative with repurposing can give your old makeup containers a new life as practical storage solutions.

5. How can I extend the lifespan of my makeup?

To extend the lifespan of your makeup, it’s important to store it properly. Keep your makeup in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and excessive heat, as these can degrade the product. Close makeup containers tightly after each use to prevent air and moisture from entering.

Additionally, using clean brushes or applicators when applying makeup can help prevent bacteria buildup in your products. Avoid sharing makeup with others to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

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What Should You Do With Unwanted or Expired Makeup? | Don’t Throw It Away!

When it comes to old makeup, it’s important to know what to do to avoid potential harm. Firstly, check the expiration dates on your cosmetics. If they’re past their prime, it’s time to let them go. Don’t be tempted to use expired products as they can cause skin irritation or infections.

Instead of throwing old makeup in the trash, consider recycling options. Some brands offer recycling programs, so check if they accept empty makeup containers. Another option is to repurpose your old makeup. For example, you can use expired eyeshadows as a nail polish color or transform old lipsticks into a tinted lip balm. Just be mindful of the product’s condition and any adverse effects it may have on your skin.


  • Maria J. Morrison

    Maria is a professional Beautician and his hobby is beauty & Personal care. she has been for the last 5 years and he loves makeup while on outings as well. Based on his experience with the different types of makeup. She is sharing his opinion about various makeup so that a beginner can get started the right way. Find him onTwitter here. Happy reading.